The Pop is a brilliantly dark take on the classic Popeye story in the highly-stylized graphic novel ilk straight out of Frank Miller’s Sin City. And this thing delivers.
Adapting the time-tested sailor man to this gritty adult world was no easy feat. The series is created by Abed Gheith and Sevan Najarian, who most recently crafted the visual effects for Sandeep Parikh’s The Legend of Neil. They shot entirely in Najarian’s living room using old lights they picked up from Disney and a home-made green screen held up by c-stands. You wouldn’t think from watching it though, as the intensely detailed world draws you into itself in a way the old cartoon version never could.
The story picks up with Popeye returning to the harbor town of Sweet Haven, still addicted to “the green stuff” but trying to rekindle the flames of romance with his estranged Olive Oil (Kate Freund). Flanked by his burger-scarfing sidekick Wimpy, Popeye squares off against his age-old nemesis Bluto (played by Gheith), and busts up their seedy spinach smuggling operations. Bluto and Popeye still vie for Olive Oil’s flighty heart, and it’s clear she hasn’t made up her mind either way.
The LA-based duo originally made the first episode as a pilot for the monthly Channel101 competition where viewers determine whether series go on or are cancelled. After taking second place overall, they were inspired to make another, which is now up on the site. Najarian says they are writing Episode 3 right now and should have it up on October 26th. He says they’ll keep making episodes “as long as fans want them” (which means you need to head to their YouTube page, subscribe and leave some comment love asking for more).
Najarian and Gheith also host a semi-regular live video podcast called Almost Every Tuesday on their Mighty Money site, which doubles as their production company. Some might also remember their controversial 2005 viral work, House of Cosbys, which garnered up plenty of buzz (the first Channel 101 series ever to go three consecutive months at #1) and some legal heat from the powers that be. This time, it looks like The Pop plays safely in the parody realm.
As hoped from The Pop, we get some killer payoff from the spot-on live versions of the gang, including Popeye’s priceless tag, “I am what I am,” and Wimpy’s “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”
They say the best shows have you clammering for more. What do you think? Want to see more of The Pop?